Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Updates: CPRC and Finance Committee Watch

I received some emails and other comments on some of the postings that have been done recently on the blog. A few were in response to attempts at the Human Resource Board meeting to stop photos from being taken of people at that meeting by representatives of the Human Resources Department including its director, Rhonda Strout. Now the board itself had no problems with being photographed while conducting its important work so photos were taken of the meeting. The Brown Act doesn't prohibit photos from being taken at public meetings nor does it require that you have a person involved in that meeting provide permission let alone sign a release to do so. The Press Enterprise after all has photographed city meetings for years without being told they couldn't.

But whether or not this is fallout coming from the posting of a photo of Community Police Review Commission Vice Chair Peter Hubbard falling asleep during one of its meetings is not clear. I had several people comment after reading or hearing about the Human Resources Board meeting that it was more of a reaction by City Hall which apparently is "very nervous" about this blog.

Why would that be?

Not that it's news that factions in the city dislike the blog given that I received a harassing email in my own name from a private ISP owned and operated by the City of Riverside several years ago. Not to mention some of the harassment on Inland Empire Craigslist while writing on two of former councilman Frank Schiavone's last political campaigns in 2008 and 2009. And so forth. So it's not exactly news that this blog makes some people nervous and even unhappy because add anger to that and that's where harassment stems from. That's been the case in one way or another since its creation in 2005 when just six months after it was started, it was the subject of an investigation by the city.

Then rumors were going around in early 2007 that representatives of the city manager's office and one department head were making insinuations and innuendos that I was under investigation and "almost a criminal" (which I guess makes as much sense as almost being pregnant) as one city management representative allegedly said to a group of community leaders in early 2007 for essentially reading the same public record on the Lee Deante Brown shooting case that reporters from the Press Enterprise and Los Angeles Times were able to read without facing similar background static about them. Then the city in Riverside County Superior Court hid behind the blog and me in order to defend themselves against a lawsuit filed by Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Wilson against the city and CPRC for a sustained finding the commission made against him on a fatal shooting in 2005. And then the blog came up in closed session over a posting done on a list of maximum ceiling raises for about 40 management and executive employees.

And then...well it's been a soap opera of municipal proportions. Never a dull moment in Riverside a city that when it's not reinventing itself through the adoption of new slogans, prides itself on being an ordinary metropolis. But while it's frustrating and certainly disturbing at times, that's part of what makes blogging so interesting and the vastly larger amount of positive response I've received has made it worthwhile. That response comes from different areas of local, national and international readership but probably doesn't include those who are "nervous". There are a lot of people who don't speak up who are very nervous and unsure about the direction this city is heading into particularly in light of difficult economic times.

Many of these people don't feel they can come to public meetings at city council without being abused verbally given that some council members engaged in that type of behavior for a couple of years. Two of the electeds engaging in this poor conduct were voted out of office by their wards and replaced by people who are more respectful in their behavior and the third one read the writing on the wall through his own difficult reelection and the ousters of the others and softened his rhetoric somewhat. What hopefully all the dais folks get by now is that the city residents who vote really don't like it when their elected representatives act out publicly because those who have either don't get reelected or they just squeak through an election. It's probably one of the strongest components on a list of criteria of elected officials that influences the political career of an elected official in Riverside and more specifically how long it lasts.

Some might say that the ethics code should be applied on those who speak at city council meetings as well as the elected officials but believe it or not, there's already a written code of conduct that applies to both elected representatives and city residents at city council meetings that's been in place for years. The problem is that changes were made to weaken the enforcement against elected officials and to strengthen that against city residents including provisions that further restricted public comment. So like the current ethics code and complaint process, this behavior protocol is toothless and the boorish behavior of several members of the dais in past years proved that time and time again.

And being polite is no assurance that you'll be treated the same by the city council. Just tell that to the elderly woman who came to city council several years ago because although she lived outside the city limits, a city-owned water pipe burst and flooded her property. She was frustrated and probably a bit frightened and she went to city council to speak on it. Well, she broke the three-minute limit and two former city council members had her physically (but gently) escorted by a very embarrassed looking police officer away from the podium. At least they didn't have her evicted but one would think their first action would be to help her not treat her like a pest to be removed from their sight, even if it's just to "streamline" the meeting. Although no one's been "escorted" from the dais lately when seeking redress like she did.

People in Riverside strongly support accountability and transparency and this belief and expectation of government transcends political affiliations. There's no better evidence of this fact than the outcomes of the charter initiatives that were voted on in 2004. All the ones that encouraged or mandated an increase in accountability and transparency passed. The ones that reduced it, i.e. the initiative that had the mayor appointing committee chairs, failed. The mixed bag of charter amendments that made it in the charter or not speaks to the reality that city residents and certainly those who vote want increased accountability. They want a strong ethics code and complaint process and they want a police commission that's protected from city government. Sadly, in both of these cases it's the city government (though there are exceptions) through the direct employees which continue to try to undermine the public's push for increased accountability and transparency by diluting the effectiveness of both of these vital mechanisms.

Still, there's factions at City Hall who seem to act nervous whenever the public demands accountability from City Hall, much like they did with the city's ethical code and complaint process at two meetings this month. And even with that participation, the city residents and some city council members watched as one key provision that had been forwarded by the Governmental Affairs Committee to the city council was killed in a substitute motion made by Councilman Steve Adams. That was the provision to strike language that was placed in the code under very dubious circumstances in the summer of 2007 through the actions of a city council member who was the subject of a complaint made against him a month earlier. Even though that language was put in the code under questionable use of ethics at best, the city council's majority led by Adams voted to rubber stamp it, which kind of gave a text book example of how the understanding of an ethics code and its purpose continues to elude a majority of those sitting on the dais.

Interestingly enough, the readership of this blog from the city is pretty extensive and has grown particularly in the past six months as more and more troubling issues have emerged involving two elements that are necessary for a healthy and responsive government, accountability and transparency. And it seems like often enough, City Hall is willing to farm both things these away. The city council has turned over most of its financial accountability to the city manager's office and most of its transparency determination to the city attorney's office. Did you know for example that the city attorney now directly handles most if not all requests for public information under the California Public Records Act?

Yes, it's true which I discovered after I sent CPRA requests to the city manager's office for raw data backing up statements its representatives had made about the CPRC's annual operational budget and the police department's officer/supervisor staffing ratios. The city manager's office which is filled with some say too many six-figured employees who used to work for Riverside County was unable or unwilling to handle this CPRA request itself but had Priamos handle it himself and Priamos is 0 for 2 in properly answering CPRA requests. Whether that's due to lack of experience or just being willful is not clear.

On the request involving the CPRC annual budget, Priamos' "response" was a link to the city's then preliminary annual budget. However, while checking out that report, it was discovered that there was no mention at all of what the CPRC's annual budget for the last fiscal year was because the city manager's office didn't include a line item budget for its department. That would have been necessary for that information on the CPRC to be included in the report that Priamos provided a link for. It took six weeks to finally get the CPRC's annual budget from its manager, Kevin Rogan after some weeks of stalling by the city manager's office which offered up one of its administrative analysts (and former CPRC interim manager) Mario Lara as its excuse.

On the request involving the police department's officer/supervisor staffing ratio, Priamos didn't provide any information except a link to the same budget report which again, only provided the department's officer/sergeant ratio in its entire field operations division, not the much more important (and more pertinent to the request) officer/sergeant ratio averages during staffing shifts. The police department was also asked for information pertaining to this request and through Priamos provided a copy of a PowerPoint presentation given by its then consultant Joe Brann as part of regular audits that were being conducted on the implementation of the department's strategic plan. The only problem was that Brann never actually included in writing the staffing ratios in his presentation though he provided them in his oral report. So Chief Russ Leach through Priamos provided information in response to the request which didn't actually include the information requested.

What was really striking about this request in particular is that I had made a similar request in 2005 while the department was under its stipulated judgment with the state attorney general's office and received a lot of documents and CDs including information that was used to calculate the staffing ratios for 2003, 2004 and part of 2005. This package of information provided great insight into the department's trends in fulfilling this required reform under the consent decree and was useful in determining the methods used to calculate those ratios by members of the Attorney General's Task Force which did so on a regular basis.

However, when Priamos' office took over the handling of the CPRA requests, this clearly public information was no longer included in a similar request submitted in 2008, two years after the dissolution of the stipulated judgment. The request made was the same as the previous one but the department in the two years since March 2006 had become less and less transparent and when it comes to requesting information like staffing ratios in the department, this is a very disturbing trend.

Why? Because when it comes to staffing ratios if you read Brann's final report under the stipulated judgment, he mentions that supervisory staffing ratios was one of the most important reforms and one that was key to ensuring that the department would continue to head in the right direction. It's a very important part of keeping the department accountable and of ensuring greater safety for the police officers and the public. Proper supervision by sergeants and watch commanders is very important for the development and work done by officers particularly in a police department as "young" as the Riverside Police Department. The fact that the city would withhold what was previously treated as public information from the public is appalling especially since it's lost enough supervisors through retirements to bring up the issue of whether or not those ratios are being adversely impacted by the loss of four lieutenants and seven to eight sergeants.

Even Leach has admitted, though not in public that the police department has lost its transparency that it enjoyed under the consent decree in more recent years. That can in part be attributed to the city attorney's over zealous interpretation of state laws and the city management's dislike of public participation in their government because both of them are heavily involved in the police department's operations, some say more so than Leach. After all, if you look at just about every mechanism that the public can use to access and work with the government, it's either being whittled down or manipulated and micromanaged as is the case with several of the boards and commissions in this city for example.

Art Gage who's running for mayor made some pretty strong comments about how the current city council is letting the administration run the city and even the city council. Gage while on the city council cast one of the votes that hired Hudson and whether or not this means that he's experiencing "buyer's remorse" or is simply running on a more populist platform isn't clear but his message about who should be running the city is being well received even if he doesn't win the mayor's seat.

Finance Committee Update

As you know if you've been reading this site or have been paying close attention, there has been no meeting of the Finance Committee at Riverside City Hall so far this entire year. The current tentative (and that's a term to be used loosely) meeting of this committee has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m. but before you get all excited and pencil it in your social calendar, there's been other so-called scheduled meetings of this once very active committee but it's never met. As you can see by clicking this link then clicking "Finance Committee" and then clicking "agenda" and you'll notice that there's no category for 2009. At the rate things are going, there's no need to add one either.

The membership of the here-yesterday-gone-today committee is Councilwoman Nancy Hart who chairs it, Paul Davis who vice-chairs it and Mike Gardner who serves at large. Rumor is that Mayor Ron Loveridge had promised Davis several committee assignments after his election last June including the chairmanship of the Finance Committee. If that's true, then Loveridge reengaged on his promise by recommending the appointment of Hart, the former vice-chair of the committee, instead.

Former councilman and current mayoral candidate Art Gage said that during his entire tenure on the city council from 2003-07, he had chaired the Finance Committee but that he had trouble getting items on the agenda for discussion. It's been said that Loveridge picked Hart as chair because he and others at City Hall knew that as long as she was in that position, she would never ask questions and probably would never hold meetings. Hart's only been serving on the committee since late June and the summer months often reduce the opportunities to host subcommittee meetings (especially since the city council itself only meets twice monthly) but there's speculation that the Finance Committee won't meet this year and that it will end with the distinction of being the first in recent memory where the committee (that once met twice monthly) didn't meet at all. Not even to receive and review a report submitted from the city's annual financial audit from an outside firm (which is a separate report than that given annually by Asst. City Manager/Financial Officer Paul Sundeen).

When Davis ran for office, he said he would bring his experience with finance onto the city council and push for more financial accountability including with the annual budget. However, since he's been elected City Hall has made it difficult for anyone to do so and the denial of his assignment to chair the Finance Committee is probably just the most obvious step taken to prevent any close look by the city council in a public forum of the city's financial issues. It's a good bet that if Davis adhered to his philosophy while campaigning then he would as chair called for regular meetings of this committee. Something that either Loveridge realized and didn't like or he realized that it might cause conflict (which is something Loveridge abhors and tries to avoid at all costs).

A trend which is interesting to follow in Riverside is how there's an inverse relationship between the promotion of Riverside Renaissance and financial accountability at City Hall. Of course, the latter started to diminish not long after the city hired its current administrator, Brad Hudson and that includes the decline of the Finance Committee which can be traced back to about mid 2005 which is when Hudson replaced interim city manager Tom Evans. There were fewer Finance Committee meetings in the last six months of 2005 than there had been in the previous six months and the number of meetings began to sharply decline from 2006 onward to the present practice of having zero meetings. Don't be totally amazed out of your socks if the city council upon advisement by the city manager's office decides just to disband its Finance Committee within the next year.

Sounds far fetched? Not really, if you consider the earlier steps taken by the city council to hand over its financial accountability powers piece by piece to Hudson. If there's ever a controversy about how City Hall handles its finances, then the place to start looking begins when the finance department was placed under the city manager's office apparently not long after Hudson arrived. But that was back when the city had only one assistant manager, not three of them and people in those positions were required to have masters degrees. Changing that latter requirement might have cost this city a very fine human resources director in Art Alcaraz and instead replaced that with what appears to be a department with two directors in place. One that reports to Hudson and one that reports to DeSantis, according to some folks.

CPRC commissioner watch update

As you know, the commission has deteriorated to the point where you have commissioners who are apparently starting to oust each other off the body. At its last meeting on Sept. 23, Commissioners Peter Hubbard and Art Santore tried to get the meeting date changed which if it had taken place might have cost the CPRC a commissioner or two. The official version is that Hubbard was trying to push this agenda item for months but that seems odd because there's nothing controversial about such a seemingly mundane item for it to get vetoed by the trio who informally comprise what appears to be the CPRC Agenda Vetting Committee.

These individuals are CPRC manager, Kevin Rogan, City Attorney Gregory Priamos and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis who is involved when he has five minutes free from micromanaging and some say running different city departments including the police department. So it seems unlikely that this item agenda would have been put on ice by this unofficial committee for very long.

At any rate, it finally was agendized and even when it became clear that one commissioner, John Brandriff would have to resign, Hubbard still pushed it and when he finally bailed, Santore picked it up and started pushing it as well. The message they sent the community that attended loud and clear (besides the fact that they don't like community which they always put on blast)is that they don't value each other and that dissent by a minority of commissioners may equate removal of those commissioners by putting them in positions where they could no longer serve. As it stood, Brandriff would have been forced to resign and Commissioners Chani Beeman and Brian Pearcy might have been in a position where their employment might have caused them to consider whether or not they could still serve. What do these three commissioners have in common by the way?

None of them are overly influenced by City Hall and don't comprise the current majority of Hubbard, Santore, Ken Rotker, Chair Sheri Corral and occasionally Robert Slawsby (a former city council candidate himself) who is tight with some of the people hired to handle former Councilman Frank Schiavone's campaign. Slawsby occasionally votes on his own especially if he feels that a particular motion if passed might infringe on his own free expression, i.e. his decision to vote with Beeman to not ban minority reports.

The majority appears intent on wooing Slawsby on its side because if he voted with the previous minority contingent, it would bring both factions of the CPRC to a tied vote of 4-4, at least until the newest commissioner is sworn in and is forced to pick sides. Then again, he barely sat through half of the last meeting before picking up his computer and leaving so it's not clear if he has the stomach to serve on the fractious commission and if so, how long he'll be serving if he gets a job with the Riverside County District Attorney's office and is forced to resign.

The motion didn't really go anywhere, Brandriff's not resigning but he was very disturbed by what happened as he should be and as it turns out there's a commissioner who's leaving soon and it's not him. It's probably going to be Corral who is rumored to be moving out of the city and if that happens, she'll no longer be allowed to serve on the CPRC. That would most likely elevate Hubbard to the chair position and as such, it makes sense the extra furor City Hall put into promoting his election to that position by allowing the first (and only) teleconference vote to be cast during the entire history of the CPRC.

If or when Corral vacates the commission, it will cause a shift in the power dynamic in a way that might freak out the factions at City Hall which are micromanaging the CPRC for a little while but Corral is the only commissioner from the third ward which means that Councilman Rusty Bailey most likely will be rooting around for a campaign supporter to promote for the spot. Even though the mayor and entire city council are involved in the appointment process for the CPRC, it's become clear that it's pretty much the city council member who winds up in a roundabout way, appointing the commissioner to fill his ward's spot. That was certainly the case with the Santore, Slawsby and with the latest appointment as well.

Never a dull moment with the CPRC's dramatics but never a really productive moment as well. It makes one nostalgic for the period in the CPRC's history when commissioners served without whining about how hard it was and were truly interested in the community, not more concerned about what shirts the city could purchase for them (during fiscally difficult times). They actually produced annual reports, did extensive outreach, participated in doing work rather than handing it off to the executive manager and weren't averaging in the three digits for days it took them to process complaints. They held meetings of their subcommittees, well actually they had subcommittees and they met twice monthly. They didn't try to kick each other to the curb over a disagreement or power play. The executive director or manager actually worked full-time rather than being passed off as a full-time employee but actually working part-time hours.

But neither of the full-time executive directors/managers lasted very long and probably the most independent and certainly the most community orientated one, Pedro Payne was pretty much forced to resign by DeSantis and Hudson. After all, his resignation came a scant few weeks after DeSantis allegedly got angry (though his gun thankfully remained holstered) and forced Payne to leave a meeting at City Hall about officer-involved death investigative protocol on the Lee Deante Brown shooting case in December 2006.

One person said that when they ran into Payne, he had been following what had been going on with the current micromanagement of the CPRC and Rogan only being a shadow of what a manager could be and told them that this is why he couldn't do the job anymore. And Payne had loved being the CPRC manager. At the time, he said that it was one of the most rewarding jobs he had ever had. But while the interim city management had given him the opportunity to do that job fully, the Hudson and DeSantis duo decided that the commission really didn't need an independent manager but one they could control instead. Which makes sense given their apparent feelings about having department heads who are actually like...independent managers.

But none of these folks are really the problem here. The problem is having a city government who is willing to give high scores on an evaluation to two direct city employees who are at best allowing the CPRC to become a nonentity, proving once again that when it comes to learning from history, the government's not very good students. If you followed what happened with the CPRC's ancestor, LEPAC in the 1980s and especially the 1990s, then what is happening with the CPRC should be very familiar.

Ron Pacheco learns how to share

The cost of the Regency Tower newly constructed in downtown Riverside has just gone up another million dollars or so. But two departments will be sharing the vast office space with the Riverside County District Attorney's office.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The building is almost complete, and the county plans to move employees in on schedule in mid-November, said facilities management spokesman Tom Freeman.

The board agreed in April that the district attorney's office would not grow large enough to fill the building any time soon and should share with the county counsel and the Probation Department's administration. At that meeting, Rob Field, director of facilities management, told supervisors putting the two departments in the building would cost about $3 million.

Since then, the slump in new construction has driven down building and materials costs, Freeman said. As a result, the county will save more than $1 million over the initial estimate, he said.

District Attorney Rod Pacheco told supervisors in April that he had no problem sharing the building with the two departments, but he questioned the millions in additional spending.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board hands out two endorsements in Norco's upcoming city council election. It hasn't endorsed yet in Riverside's mayoral race, which includes incumbent, Loveridge and challengers Gage and local artist and activist Ken Stansbury who's running as a write-in candidate. It's not clear yet whether there will be any more publicly held debates but there's still just over a month until the election. Brochures on the candidates for the mayoral and school board elections have already been sent to voters in the mail by the Registrar's office.

Press Enterprise columnist Carl Love writes about the battle in Temecula over the young adult novel, Speak and whether it will be taught in class. The school board finally approved it during its meeting.


So kudos to the school board for doing the right thing because everybody who is in high school, has ever been to high school, or has ever had high school kids should read this book. Did we leave anybody out?

Getting teens to relate to required reading can be like getting a toddler to connect with Tolstoy. This book does the impossible.

It's great literature teens can identify with and therefore take interest in, a huge deal as any teacher knows. As much as I love Hemingway, how much can kids today relate? Unless it's called "The Old Man and the Internet," kids aren't buying.

Great Oak High School English teacher Courtney Evans, who spoke before the school board, shrewdly notes that the third page of "Speak" lists "The First Ten Lies They Tell You in High School." With that as a hook, you think kids won't devour the rest of the book?

By the way, the No. 1 lie is "We are here to help you." And still teachers want kids to see this book. That should tell you how important it is.

The power of the work is that it touches on more sensitive topics than the health care debate: the rape, underage drinking, suicide, depression, teenage ridicule and other matters so delicate that the school board had to weigh in.

Nazi Pride

Some of the Nazis or their supporters have been hanging out on Inland Empire Craigslist to praise the Nazi rally. Apparently, they were upset that there were "Mexicans", gays and lesbians at the rally. Remember, if you read their 25 point plan on the national Web site for the National Socialist Movement, they would banish these individuals (and others) from their United States.

This blond woman who's giving a Heil Hitler sign was praised for her courage by her supporters.

It makes sense for them to show up on Craigslist because not long ago, they were using the site to recruit new members to the state chapter of the NSM that was started in Riverside last year.

Press Enterprise
Columnist Dan Bernstein tackles Riverside's perplexing habit of evicting downtown businesses and then figuring out what to do with their properties.


Does the city have a design for this parking garage? No. Has it solicited bids? No. Inked contracts? No. Is it even sure how much of these buildings (there's some history there) it wants to save? No. Is it anxious for demolition to begin before the Fox's mid-January ga-ga gala and Sheryl's later opener? No!

But it wants those tenants out by Dec. 31? Oh, yeah. Out! Out!

Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents the area, seems to be familiar with the city's two-step "redevelopment" procedure: 1. Out you go! 2. Now what?

Gardner: "We have not managed these kinds of things as well as we could." Which led him to add: "We don't really know when they'll (the latest batch of evictees) be out. Nobody wants a bunch of empty buildings sitting there." But that's what the city does!

Unless... unless, just this one time, the city doesn't force anyone out until it has a) come up with a plan and b) is ready to execute it.

Gardner: "I want to close the gap between when the building is vacant and when the construction starts." How wide would this gap be? "An acceptable gap is 30 days between having vacant buildings and going after toxics (asbestos & lead in the run-up to demolition)."

Joe Flyr, owner of Beasley's antiques -- one of the tenants on the brink -- says Gardner has been "extremely helpful" in the hunt for a new Riverside location. Flyr's opinion carries weight since he also had the pleasure of being evicted from the Stalder Building. In that instance, City Hall proved remote and unhelpful; his relocation to Van Buren Boulevard didn't work out; so he opened a retail biz in the back of his huge warehouse, located, as fate would have it, in the Fox Theatre-close buildings that will now give way to a parking garage.

Bernstein also weighed in on a lawsuit filed against Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco by a former prosecutor including allegations he appeared on a "Batman and Robin" videotape with a junior prosecutor accused of misconduct including sexual harassment.

Speaking of Pacheco, the outgoing president of the Riverside County Bar Association launched a strike against him blaming him for the congestion that has plagued the Riverside County Superior Court system.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

There is a huge effort by our judges to free up space for civil litigants, but the criminal cases just keep coming.

The county Board of Supervisors needs to take its share of responsibility for this. Pacheco answers to the board each time he seeks additional funding. Has the board considered where the money is spent? Has the board inquired of the district attorney why the courts are so backlogged with cases? If not, now's the time to ask it to do so.

The public also contributes to court congestion. Citizens want the district attorney to fight crime, but surely they also want to have their civil matters heard in a timely manner. With so few civil cases being tried, it is extremely difficult to get settlements. Where insurance is involved, insurance companies hold back their money for as long as they can, waiting for a litigant to give up and take the paltry sum being offered.

Being tough on crime is one thing, but taking an unreasonable position so that our courts are unable to address the needs of the people is quite another. In future elections this is something that the district attorney's office and the public need to consider.

Wildomar should not elect its council members by district. So states the Press Enterprise Editorial Board.


Nor does Wildomar have a history of unfairly denying representation to particular areas or populations -- the other usual rationale for council districts. The city is brand new; it has no record of political exclusion.

A new government facing the enormous challenges of creating a sustainable city should be seeking the best candidates for office. Council districts arbitrarily limit city voters' choices to one council seat, instead of all five. And districts can block good people from serving by geographically restricting representation.

At-large elections are the city's best course. Wildomar voters should say yes to Measure I and no to Measures J and K.

Inglewood's police department has been accused of withholding information on some officer-involved shootings.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

n a statement last week, the City Council announced that it had received the report by the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, a civilian oversight group, but was withholding it because of attorney-client privilege in legal matters involving the Police Department. The council did not specify when the report would be released, stating only that it would "eventually" be made public in its entirety.

"The goal of the review . . . is to inform the public of the reform efforts now underway, evaluate all aspects of the department's operation, preserve public safety, and help officers serve the community at the highest level," the council said in the statement.

City Atty. Cal Saunders declined to answer a reporter's questions about why the report fell under attorney-client privilege, or what legal matters were barring the report's release. Council members and other city officials declined to comment or did not return requests for comment.

The report marks the first independent, external assessment of the department since the shootings, in which officers shot and killed four men over a span of four months in 2008. Three of them were unarmed. The U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division is also investigating the department's policies and procedures. The L.A. County district attorney's office and the FBI have opened inquiries into specific shootings.

Update on the Harassment of a Blogger

A while back, a female blogger who wrote on domestic violence involving law enforcement officers was threatened by one of the deputies that she wrote about, this one being employed by different agencies including currently, Palm Beach County named Ira Peskowitz.

More information on this disturbing incident was posted here and on different blogs in the internet.

Recently, she was contacted by his agency's internal affairs division and this is the response they sent her:


"...The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Division of Internal Affairs, wishes to inform you that the allegations you made against Deputy Sheriff Ira Peskowitz, ID 7583, were able to be substantiated to a level of certainty where disciplinary action would be authorized. D/S Peskowitz received a Written Reprimad for his actions in this case. A Copy of the Personnel Complaint Report Summary Sheet is enclosed. You may request a copy of the written report..."

Behind the Blue Wall keeps a valuable record of all the cases of law enforcement related domestic violence including this shocking update of how former DeKalb County Sheriff's department, deputy Derrick Yancey, facing two murder indictments, fled the country and was finally apprehended in Belize. It's shocking how someone who's facing double murder charges including killing his own wife would be released on bail in the first place and allowed to run around with a GPS ankle bracelet which he then cut loose and no one knew about that for a while. If he hadn't been given special privileges due to his law enforcement background, a lot of time, energy and expense wouldn't have been spent trying to put him back in jail.

If you want to research this issue or learn more about domestic violence pertaining to law enforcement officers, her blog is the top resource on the internet.

Ward Four Community Meeting

held by Councilman Paul Davis as part of an ongoing series

Thursday Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Orange Terrace Center in Orangecrest

Topic: Gless Ranch Market Place and Grove Preservation

The Group is hosting Mayor Ron Loveridge on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7 a.m. at Coffee Depot on Mission Inn Avenue in downtown Riverside.

Here are five CEOs sitting pretty while their companies tanked last year. Woo Hoo!

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